“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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Friday, November 16, 2012

The Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 22

This prophecy is the key to understanding several statements in the New Testament.

As an overview of Isaiah 22, the testimony of Jesus was again repeating His plans for the disobedient and idolatrous Israel to Isaiah who then sent the word out to the people. Jesus taught this lesson through a parable, a real-life, acted out parable.

The plans of the Lord God for Israel were not good tidings. Since they carried His name, anything short of a studied imitation of the Law of His life was a misrepresentation of Him. Their national title said, “I am an Israelite, (‘one who wrestles with Elohim and overcomes self and sin.’) I represent the Creator of the heavens and the earth.” Yet, their disobedience to Him led the world to hate Him as they watched the uncouth and unloving lives of these people who claimed Him as their God.

Nothing but evil action against them could turn them from their course of misrepresenting Jehovah. Yet, they had forgotten the first principle of that experience. All they knew was Baal, and “[Satan] gave [Baal] his power, and his seat, and great authority.… And they worshipped [Satan] which gave power unto [Baal]: and they worshipped [Baal], saying, Who is like unto [Baal]? who is able to make war with him?” (Rev. 13:2,4). And serving Baal led to the grossest perversions and the harshest license to oppress others, especially the rich toward the poor and the powerful over the weak.

Now, the Lord God would raise up the Assyrians and later the Babylonians to strip Israel of its wealth and freedoms, its temple and spiritual pride. And it was the very priests and Levites and priests of Baal who were teaching the rulers and the people that ungodly lifestyle. Therefore, this prophecy of Isaiah’s spoke against one of the highest and probably the most powerful rulers of the temple under the High Priest, the temple treasurer.

Isaiah paints a picture of Israel worshipping the heavens like the pagans, and he builds a case against them.
“The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?” (Isa. 22:1). They were on the flat house tops because those elevated places simulated a convenient high place for pagan devotion, and the whole family could worship together, trembling before Baal for their sins and weeping to Ashtaroth to save them from Baal. What aileth thee? Sin ails us and drives us to find a solution for its constant torment and misery. But, will we seek the blessed covenant of Him who created us? Or will we look to Satan and his methods which only profess to bring peace because they provide ever increasing indulgence to self, but really only increase the unrest in us that comes from separation from God? The devil has no love for us; and it’s the heart’s emptiness of its Maker that causes our love for each other to grow cold and causes iniquity to abound.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:37-40). “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Rom. 13:10). But, Satan hates love and never, never allows his subjects to have it. Hence, the miserable life of all who follow him.

Isaiah’s disturbed soul toward his nation, which was caught up in false revival and tumultuous worship, and which was already suffering divine wrath through receiving the delusional Mark of the beast, the possession by the devils:

“Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.
All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far.
Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.
For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains.
And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield.
And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.
And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the house of the forest.
Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are many: and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool.
And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall.
Ye made also a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool: but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago.
And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:
And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.
And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” (Isa. 22:2-14).

They weren’t joyful from the heart for receiving a contrite spirit or a clean heart. A contrite spirit or a clean heart, which the Law of God required, was a lost concept to them. Their delight was pleasure in self-indulgent worship and spiritualistic drunkenness. They were lost, lost to the spiritual exercises of Satan. It was exactly the same which Christ rebuked centuries later, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.” (Matt. 23:25).

The Jew’s sacrifices to the Lord were actually sacrifices to Baal, as Isaiah said later, “He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before Mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.” (Isa. 66:3,4). Their sacrifice to Jehovah was only an act, a fake display, in order to convince themselves that everything was all right between them and Him. Their sacrifices were no different from Babylon’s great feast when Cyrus was just outside the city walls.

The Israelites all believed that their positive thinking could propitiate God and change His work of evil against them. So they continued on with the sacrifices and high worship, oblivious to the armies that Jehovah was amassing beyond the northern frontier. Today, we observe the church attempting the same things, altogether a duplicate of the ancient delusion. Satan never changes his tactics! And the third angel’s message is the severest warning that applies to us today as Satan moves the Protestant denominations closer and closer toward Spiritual Formation, which is only baptized pagan worship and a means of demon possession. The denominations’ departure from the Law of God was the ticket to their final destruction. How far Protestantism has fallen!

There was nothing more the Lord could do with Israel except to obliterate them and scatter them to the farthest quarters of the earth. They were squatting on His holy land. They were not worthy of His divine forbearance any longer. Seven centuries of callous dishonor to Jehovah was enough.

But, notice that the Lord takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. “Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.” This was more than Isaiah speaking there. It was Jehovah Himself; it was Isaiah filled with Jehovah’s Spirit. All the skeptics who blast the Old Testament God for assumed satanic cruelty need to look more closely at the God of the Old Testament who was God of the whole Bible, Jesus Christ preincarnate, who was later fashioned in our image.
“Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die” (Vs. 13). This was such a pagan concept that it persisted to Paul’s day. No thought of eternal realities of purity and holiness to the Lord, fear of God and of His judgment, only hedonism which all the prophets and apostles reproved.

“I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.” (1Cor. 15:31,32). Living for this world and this life only, was what Israel had become. The far-removed, true life of Abraham’s and David’s godliness would not return to Israel until the apostolic church was born. In the church, founded squarely upon God’s dealing with ancient Israel, the principles of life were again brought out and presented in all of their divine beauty.

Christ-likeness and its future resurrection in His people is what Isaiah and all the servants of God prophesied about.

So, the Lord taught Israel an object lesson through their wicked treasurer, Shebna, who evidently used public holy money to make his own splendid burying place.

“Thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, Go, get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say,
What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock?
Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee.
He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord’s house.
And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall He pull thee down.” (Isa. 22:15-19). 

“Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” (1Tim. 5:20). “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” (Jas. 3:1). “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1Pet. 5:2-4).

The removal of this chief priest, Shebna, and the rebuke given him for his embezzling, was the means of communicating to the tribes what God intended to do to them all for their run-away national apostasy, especially to the religious leadership.

But, another prophecy would go further with the rebuke against an apostasy that they would never rein in. The office of temple treasurer would be given to another, One after God’s own heart.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:
And I will clothe Him with thy robe, and strengthen Him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into His hand: and He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
And the key of the house of David will I lay upon His shoulder; so He shall open, and none shall shut; and He shall shut, and none shall open.
And I will fasten Him as a nail in a sure place; and He shall be for a glorious throne to His Father’s house.
And they shall hang upon Him all the glory of His Father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.
In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isa. 22:20-25).

This Eliakim prefigured Christ, the Son of David who appeared in so many Old Testament prophecies.

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isa. 9:6,7).

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
And shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears:
But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious.” (Isa. 11:1-10).

“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isa. 53:2-5).

“For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him:
But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their King, whom I will raise up unto them.” (Jer 30:8,9). Every Davidic and Levitical prophecy of scripture referred to Jesus and His redemption and restoration of Eden, the eternal heavenly kingdom which He would establish. “The scriptures…are they which testify of Me.” (Jn. 5:39).

The laying of the key of the house of David upon this Eliakim’s shoulder represented the work of the Messiah in His shouldering the whole work of salvation for lost mankind. He would carry the cross. He would have the strength to open to sinners the door of salvation; He had the key to that door. His cross was that key. No one else had the authority to give us redemption and to present before us the glories of His truth and righteousness. But, Christ has full authority to save us. What can Satan say, after all that he did to the Lord? He might lead us to feel that we are great sinners, and we are; but Jesus is a greater Savior. Let us not be ignorant of Satan’s devices. Eliakim as our Savior’s type, Christ would be Priest and King, like “Melchisedec, King of Salem, Priest of the most high God.” (Heb. 7:1). As King, He shows us our sins, condemning us and leading us to repentance; then, as Priest of the most high God, He dies in our place at our hand, forgiving us.

Later, in an investing of the royal regalia, Zechariah similarly portrayed the Messiah.

“Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; and speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the Man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the LORD: even He shall build the temple of the LORD; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a Priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (Zech. 6:11-13). The Messiah alone can carry both thrones of church and state. Only in Him can there be peace when both are united. And in Him Grace and Law are always united and at peace; and His peace He shares with His priests and kings.
“Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5:31). Here we see the basis and very essence of the glories of salvation which our Messiah provides us—not only forgiveness, but He gives us repentance and victory over sin, too.

“And they shall hang upon Him all the glory of His Father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.” (Isa. 22:24). These temple cups and bowls and great pitchers represented the beauty of God’s mercy and the fullness of His continuing patience for sinners. They were all gold because gold represented love, and the Messiah’s every act, look, and gesture, which decorated the beauty of His holiness, was love. Only divine love can bear up under the burden of sin’s presence in God’s children. It “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Divine “charity never faileth.” (1Cor. 13:7,8).  All those cups of His graciousness toward us, small and large, hung all over Christ like bells and pomegranates. They might also represent the angels of God going up and down upon the Son of Man, bearing the message of the Father’s love through Christ.

“And I will fasten Him as a nail in a sure place; and He shall be for a glorious throne to His Father’s house.” (Isa. 22:23). Christ was forever enthroned before God when He died on the cross. As Christ was fastened to the cross; the cross was His throne, the throne of David who was the earthly king who most deeply knew pure, open-hearted love and surrender to God’s will. “Yea, for Thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.” (Psa. 44:22). “I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all Thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in Thee: I will sing praise to Thy name, O Thou most High.” (Psa. 9:1,2).

And Jesus so perfectly accomplished God’s purposes for the cross that His hanging on the cross is forever “a sure place.” “He [the Father] shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.” (Isa. 53:11)  “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 6:19,20).

“And the key of the house of David will I lay upon His shoulder; so He shall open, and none shall shut; and He shall shut, and none shall open.” (Isa. 22:22). This is the key that Jesus promised to Peter. But, the Lord was only repeating through Matthew’s gospel the very same object lesson that He had spoken through Isaiah and Zechariah in ages past. Peter was not to receive the key, but to be a living parable of David’s Son, who Himself possessed the key. Neither was Peter to be Christ’s vicar, but an object lesson of Christ Himself and nothing more. But, what a privilege for Peter to be a living, walking Messianic promise, pronounced and equipped by the Spirit of the Lord, as Eliakim and Joshua, and even Aaron, had been!

Peter would receive the wondrous ability to reveal Christ and His character to the church, especially to the Jewish Christians. Peter was simply following the Lord’s ancient tradition of using a living witness to represent His true doctrine and law. And later, people laid down their sick for Peter’s shadow to cross them, and they were healed. Christ was working through Peter to do great things. But, the great things didn’t come from Peter, only through him. The true source of power was Christ. And as we heard from Peter in an above verse, neither he nor any other church father was ever permitted to lord himself over the people, as we have always seen in the bishop of Rome. When Peter tried to reign for Christ and institute his own ideas of God’s will, he was immediately rebuffed and called Satan. Peter never did that again!

To overlord and demand worship of the people is sure indication that such a person does not have the key of David. The first shall be last.

This key also shows up in the Revelation.

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Rev. 1:18). “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.” (Rev. 3:7,8).

This passage has been associated with Christ’s moving into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. But, a close comparing of scripture shows that, while it does have that meaning, its original intent had to do with the opening of salvation at the cross, as we have seen in the above paragraph. It also indicates the opening of the grave to so many who have suffered death, yet held on to the blessed hope of the resurrection. What Christ accomplished at the cross is so sure that no human or satanic host can ever change the divine achievement that has forever settled it in God’s mind that man can be justified and glorified.

Christ has opened the door to our justification and our future glorification, but, what about the work of our sanctification? Surely our sanctification is also covered by the key of David, right? And so it is. Hebrews 8 and 9 clearly bring forward the work of Christ as our High Priest, working for our purification as He officiates His blood in our behalf in the heavenly sanctuary that Christ built (see Heb. 8:1,2).

But there were two ministries that He must accomplish there. One, to apply His atonement for our sins, feeding us His body and blood, giving us insight into His heart and mind, and working prayer into our thoughts as the natural expression of receiving His sacrifice and example.

“Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Rom. 5:9-11).  So, His ministry in the Holy Place of His sanctuary above encompasses His work to apply His blood for our justification and sanctification from sin. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1Jn. 1:9). “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).

The second ministry that Christ must accomplish is the final, special work of our purification in preparation for our glorification at His second coming.
“On the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, He shall be cut off from among His people.
And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among His people.
Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.” (Lev. 23:27-32).

Without any equivocation, unlike any other holy day, the children of Israel were to take this Day of Atonement of utmost seriousness. It was no day for celebration—that would wait until after the atonement. But this day was a total preparation of the soul. It was the annual Day of Judgment for the nation. The whole previous year of their sin had accumulated in the Holy Place, and now a special work in the Most Holy Place was to cleanse the sins from the Holy Place.

Those typical services were “a shadow of things to come.” (Col. 2:17). The ceremonial cleansing of the tabernacle of the congregation spoke of a future event in the heavenly sanctuary. Pointing to 1844, “He said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (Dan. 8:14). Then the antitypical Day of Atonement began. Since then we’ve been in the shadow of judgment day; and the message to the world, “unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,” has been, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14:6,7).

While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. Great Controversy, p. 425.

Christ did open the door from the heavenly Holy Place into the Most Holy Place, and no man in heaven, in earth, or under the earth, was able to shut it. And His work of maintaining our justification only went shut in order for the special work of glorification to begin, which would involve a special justification and a special sanctification. This speaks of God’s deep anticipation of the end of sin and the inauguration of eternity. That former work of justification would continue, but now with the added emphasis of perfection and preparation for immigrating to the bleached white atmosphere of heaven’s perfection, and for entering into the pure joy that our Lord has prepared for us.

 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” (1Jn. 3:1-3).

The old work of emphasizing only justification has ended. That door has gone shut and cannot be opened again. Now we are inexorably bound for purification or corruption, for the Seal of the living God or the Mark of the beast, the house of David which was full of praise and life, or the house of Dagon, which was the sanctuary of spiritualism and death, the synagogue of Satan.

All of Christ’s heavenly ministries to prepare this world for its reconciliation, reinstatement into God’s favor and the restoration of paradise have been in Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah’s being nailed to the wall of the temple treasury. And the final end of the prophecy foretells the end of Satan and sin.

“In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isa. 22:25). Satan will be cut down. No more sin and transgression. No more oppression and persecution and death. No more self-indulgence or ungodliness. No more hatred and anger and distrust. No more disease and pain and sorrow. This is another promise “which … we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.” “Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” (Rev. 13:10).

We can glean one last lesson from Isaiah’s prophecy which applies to the experience of Peter and the temple treasurer tax collectors.

“And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your Master pay tribute?
He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? Of their own children, or of strangers?
Peter saith unto Him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for Me and thee.” (Matt. 17:24-27).

Christ knew that He was the one about whom Isaiah has prophesied. He knew that Eliakim represented Him as the new temple treasurer. The greedy Shebna represented the corrupt priests and rabbis of Jesus’ day who would never lower themselves to hear the instruction of the Son of God who came in cognito under the guise of a commoner, as Isaiah had prophesied. The only thing that would convince them of God’s displeasure toward them was the same sentence of captivity and death that Shebna received. And they heard what Shebna heard, “Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” (Isa. 22:14).  “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24). 
If the priests had studied the scriptures, they might have taken the lesson and sought for God’s help to overcome. But, the prophetic account of Shebna’s replacement by Eliakim came true for them. Christ was their replacement, and His followers were prefigured by the nation of Israel, “He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah” (Isa. 22:21).

His disciples were also prefigured in Zechariah’s visions, as Joshua represented Jesus (the Lord’s name being the Hellenized translation of the Aramaic name Joshua, or Yeshua).

“Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah;
Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;…
And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the LORD.” (Zech. 6:10,11,14). These men were undoubtedly the same men referred to earlier in this context.

“Hear now, O Joshua the High Priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth My Servant the BRANCH.
For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.” (Zech. 3:8-10). Didn’t Jesus meet Nathanael under a fig tree where he had been meditating on the scriptures? That was meant as the fulfillment of these messianic prophecies.

“Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.
And He saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” (Jn. 1:47-51).

So Jesus was not only the prophesied Priest King, but also the builder of the temple, the treasurer of the temple, the door of the temple’s treasure house, and the nail that keeps the golden implements of our Father’s love, but Jesus was also the Father, or High Priest of the house of God.

An earlier prophecy had His children being beautifully adorned temples like Himself. “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.
And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.
And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” (Isa. 54:11-14).

Jesus was not supposed to pay the temple tax because He was the temple; He was the Sacrifice and He was the Priest; He was the builder of the temple and bore the glory of it. A greater than Solomon’s temple was among them. The priests should have been embellishing Him with their gold. But, He didn’t want to needlessly offend them, so He had Peter give them the money they required.


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